The Struggles of Having a Big TBR

The Struggles of Having a Big TBR

I wanted to discuss something that many of us in the book community have to deal with and that’s a TBR list. Now TBR lists can be used in a variety of ways. Maybe you have a TBR list of all the books you own, or perhaps you have a monthly TBR. For this post, I want to talk about my owned TBR and how, though it is great to look at my own personal collection of books, it can be quite overwhelming to see all the unread books on my shelves.

So being overwhelmed by books? Well, that’s something I’ve been dealing with for the last 5 years or so now. I became the reader I am now back in Spring 2014 and my TBR has honestly not stopped growing since. I do have a big owned TBR list and there is absolutely no way I can deny that. I have about 250 books on my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads and I am constantly in the process of trying to bring it down to 200 books.  I’ll be honest, it’s not going too well but I am trying and I do feel like I am more motivated than any other year to decrease the number of books on my TBR.

Now as I said earlier, having a big TBR can be great at times because I’m never stuck for books to read but it can also be overwhelming because I do have so many books on my shelves staring at me, asking for me to pick them. Well believe me, if I could read all of them at the same time, I absolutely would and sometimes I just get this urge to try but of course, there’s no way I can keep track of 250 books at a time. Although of course, I’d leave one or two spare! Despite this positive of always having books on hand to read, I do feel the pressure to read them. There’s so many hyped books especially that are on my shelves to read that I just haven’t yet because I was reading something else when it was released or I wasn’t in the mood. I’ve even developed this habit of buying special or signed editions of books that are in a series I own but haven’t read yet because there are only limited copies available. It’s a serious problem.

Sometimes I really do wonder how I ever let myself buy this many books. Having a lot of books to read isn’t exactly the worst situation to be in, but I do sometimes just feel guilty for going on such a book buying splurge when I started reading again in 2014 because there are so many books from those early years that I haven’t even got to yet.

How will I ever get through them all? Will I ever get through them all? I want to read them all but I just don’t think I can.

So attempting to read the 250 books on my shelves and the pressure that comes with that? I’ll be the first to admit that I am a slow reader and that really does hold me back from getting through my TBR, not to mention all the new releases contributing to that. I just wish I was one of those people that could read over 100 books a year. I know, I know, I shouldn’t compare myself to others at all because we all read at different speeds and that’s great but while some people are reading 100+ books a year, I’m struggling to even get to 60 books read in a year. If I was able to read even 100 books a year, I’d be able to get my TBR down to almost nil in 2/2.5 years.

I’ll be honest my TBR does feel never ending and some days I really do feel like I am being drowned in books.

I do have plans to try and combat my TBR which includes finishing any series I’ve already started as so many of the books on my TBR come from series. For example, one of the biggest series on my TBR are the Shadowhunters books. If I read all of the books I own from that world (not including the three that I’ve already read), that would knock 11 books off my TBR alone which is quite a considerable amount. It looks like I’ll be looking to get that series read over the next year for sure!

Of course, having a big TBR isn’t always bad. I love knowing that once I’ve finished my current read, I have plenty of reading material to suit my mood. There’s also the added benefit that I can never be bored and that I have so much choice, I can literally dive into whatever world I feel like. I also love having a large owned TBR because it is my personal library collection and so it’s unique to me.

There’s just so much to read and so little time!


I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on having a big TBR. How many books do you have on yours? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your TBR list? Are you desperately trying to bring your TBR list down? Do you like having a big TBR with plenty of books to look forward to?